Atletico Madrid vs Man City was chaos because the referee lost control, says Mark Halsey

Posted by

It’s never great to see a referee lose control of a game, but that’s clearly what happened amidst all the chaos we saw last night between Atletico Madrid and Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola’s side are through, but the City manager won’t be happy with some of the challenges from Diego Simeone’s men, with City picking up some injuries ahead of some hugely important games coming up in this crunch stage of the season.

The German referee, Daniel Siebert, missed a chance early on to stamp his authority on the game and keep a lid on the aggressive tactics deployed by Atletico Madrid.

Foden went up for an aerial challenge, won the ball and Felipe comes through the back of him, with no chance of winning the ball. He knew exactly what he was doing – it’s a poor challenge and for me the referee should’ve cautioned the player.

That was an ideal opportunity for the referee to stamp his authority on the game because if you don’t do that in the early stages with a challenge like that, they’ll see him as a weak referee.

For me it was a clear yellow card; it was reckless from Felipe, with no chance of winning the ball.

In fairness, City got a bit lucky later on when the home side might quite rightly feel they should’ve had a penalty.

When you see the replay, you think that Cancelo has not got the ball, he has caught Correa on the shin; there are lots of bodies there and it’s difficult for the referee to see.

Still, is that a clear and obvious error or is it subjective, is it a clear and obvious error for VAR to get involved?

VAR should only get involved when it is a clear and obvious error and obviously, they have looked at that and thought to themselves that it is not a clear and obvious error, so that is why VAR didn’t recommend a review on that incident.

Atletico can feel hard done by, though, and I think that, combined with the earlier leniency on that challenge on Foden, is why we saw things unravel like they did.

All that chaos stems from that incident, where the referee didn’t get hold of Felipe early on in the game.

Marcos Alonso’s goal was rightly disallowed – Thomas Tuchel can have no complaints

Chelsea were desperately unlucky not to go through after a superb performance away to Real Madrid, but there’s no justification for Thomas Tuchel to be trying to deflect blame onto the referee.

Marcos Alonso’s goal looked fine at first, but it’s clear from the video replays that it had to be disallowed.

In real-time you don’t see anything wrong with his goal but when you see the replay, it just brushes his hand and obviously then he puts the ball into the back of the net.

As per law 12 – handling the ball, a player that scores after accidentally handling the ball, the goal must be disallowed.

Now had Alonso then passed it to a teammate, who then scored the goal, that goal would have been allowed.

It is only the goalscorer that can be penalised if he accidentally handles the ball; so as per Law 12 on handling the ball on a VAR check, it was correctly disallowed for Alonso accidentally handling the ball, where it just brushed his hand. It is unfortunate, but it is correct in law.

Marcos Alonso had a goal disallowed for handball

It would have been impossible to see that in real-time, so it is not the fault of the referee with that incident because you wouldn’t see that in real-time.

Regarding the referee smiling with the opposition coach Carlo Ancelotti – that happens week in, week out in the Premier League. It doesn’t hurt anybody to be polite and smile. Perhaps the manager said something, maybe complimenting the referee’s performance, and he’s just smiling or laughing it off.

You often see match officials smiling and shaking hands with players at the end of the game, so I don’t think that’s a problem. I think Tuchel’s just disappointed with the result – Chelsea were outstanding and had a lot of chances to win the tie, but they’ve narrowly gone out on aggregate, and I think Tuchel’s venting his frustration there.

It was a fabulous football match, really entertaining, and Chelsea can count themselves really unlucky that they’re out of the Champions League. I don’t think there’s anything more controversial to it than that, and no need to be blaming the referee.

Bravo to Anthony Taylor for how he handled Manchester City vs Liverpool

There was some talk before last weekend’s big game that Anthony Taylor would be a bad referee for Liverpool, but I thought he had an excellent game.

Apart from an incident involving Fabinho in the second half, Anthony got the big decisions right.

Had he decided to show Fabinho a red card for a nasty challenge on Bernardo Silva, it wouldn’t have been reviewed, it would have stayed a red card. You could say that Fabinho was perhaps lucky to only see a yellow card and not a red.

If you look at City’s second goal by Gabriel Jesus, I think it’s an excellent decision by the assistant referee to keep his flag down.

Jesus stayed onside by a matter of inches to finish well after an excellent ball from Joao Cancelo, and there should be no questions asked of the officials for that one, with Liverpool’s defence simply caught out by the clever movement of the City striker.

Sterling’s disallowed goal, clearly offside. You can’t argue about that. Offside is a matter of fact and it’s a fairly easy decision.

Anthony has come off that game and nobody is talking about him.

If the referee is the talking point of a game, rather than the players, it’s rarely due to positive reviews, but heavy criticism instead. The conversation following the game is centred around the excellent football on display, rather than the referee, which is a compliment to Taylor’s performance in the middle.

More Stories Mark Halsey